Showing posts with label downtown san jose retail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label downtown san jose retail. Show all posts

Monday, May 6, 2024

Starting this week on a high note with Purple Lotus

A prime 2,100 SQFT corner space that was formerly Peet's Coffee at 66 West Santa Clara Street has reopened as Purple Lotus cannabis store. They just had their ribbon cutting last Friday..

I believe this is the first urban dispensary in San Jose. Most are tucked away in industrial areas, including the original Purple Lotus location at 752 Commercial Street. That dispensary is much larger and has a thriving business for both in-person and delivery. The family-owned business employs 139 people and is currently San Jose's largest dispensary.

The Downtown location will take advantage of relaxed hours that were voted in last November and will be open from 8am to 10pm. This may actually be a significant draw for Downtown (and perhaps help nearby restaurants). While I have personally never bought anything at a dispensary, I also wouldn't underestimate their potential impact. San Jose collected $16.6 million in taxes from dispensaries last fiscal year.

Sources: SVBJ, The Mercury News

George Avalos/Bay Area New Group

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Downtown San Jose could be getting a new pet store/hotel/daycare

The "Workingman's Emporium" retail store in Downtown San Jose at North First and Devine Street has been bought by a pet services entrepreneur. The plan is now to convert the 7,900 SQFT property into a care facility and retail store for pets. This would include pet boarding, daycare, and grooming. 

With so many new homes and residents in Downtown San Jose, this will be a major amenity for pet owners that is just a short walk from most major Downtown residential buildings. 

No ETA was provided but given the owner already has has experience in this space and another store that is currently open (Pet Villa in Santa Clara), I wouldn't expect it to be a long wait before the grand opening. 

Monday, March 2, 2020

Camera 12 redevelopment renders

Urban Catalyst revealed a few new renders of their plans for the former Camera 12 site, and it looks much better than what I expected. The shape of the theater is preserved but two additional floors are being added in the interior for additional office space (73,000 SQFT total). Rooftop patios will now be accessible from the 4th and 5th floors. Oh, and the 13,000 SQFT of ground-floor retail will extend onto the Paseo.

I still miss the movie theater, but this looks like it will greatly help activate the Paseo area. The project should be complete around the 2nd quarter of 2021. It is one of seven Urban Catalyst projects scheduled to break ground this year, all of which are in Downtown San Jose. The company plans to invest $700 million into San Jose.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, July 8, 2019

StarCity's "co-living" tower moves forward

StarCity is working on the largest co-living project in the United States and it just received final city approvals. Co-living is like a dorm for adults. You get a small private space which typically includes a bedroom and bathroom and other facilities like the kitchen, living area, and laundry are shared between multiple residents. Generally co-living facilities are much less expensive than a typical newer apartment.

StarCity would like to build an 18-story tower with 803 co-living units at 199 Bassett Street. The location is is just three blocks away from San Pedro Square.

I would assume this will be on the higher-end of the co-living spectrum. The building will have a 5,000 SQFT gym, chef-style kitchens, bike storage, co-working areas. As an added bonus, there will be retail on the ground-floor that might include a cafe, grocery store, or bar.

If this gets built, it will immediately increase the Downtown population by a significant number and hopefully provide a more affordable living option.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, June 24, 2019

Quick look inside the Valley Fair expansion

The Silicon Valley Business Journal has given us a sneak peak into Valley Fair's $1.1 billion remodel and expansion. The mall is growing from 1.5 million SQFT to 2.2 million, making it by far the largest mall in Northern  California and the 15th largest in the US (If you were to count stores at Santana Row it would be the largest).

The expansion will bring flagship stores for Apple and Bloomindale's as well as other premium brands such as Jimmmy Choo, John Varvatos, UNTUCKit, and Gorjana. Double Eagle Steakhouse, Shake Shack, Salt & Straw, and SomiSomi are some of the new eateries. 80% of the expansion is already pre-leased. If you are concerned about parking, they just added another 1,200 space garage and optimized the new front entrance for car sharing/pooling, bikes, and pedestrians in mind (finally).

By pushing the mall outwards towards Stevens Creek and adding an outdoor paseo, they are doing their best to better connect to Santana Row. Inside the more traditional mall area, they are using a lot of high-end materials and leveraging natural light thanks to massive skylights.

The expansion will have its grand opening early next year, but I wouldn't be surprised if some of the 100 new stores did a soft opening before Christmas.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, April 18, 2019

San Jose Wayfinding Project

The SJ Economy Blog has some interesting information on a Wayfinding Project for San Jose. The goal is to provide block-by-block guidance to Downtown visitors.

One of the big challenges Downtown faces is that there are many districts that are poorly connected with dead space in between them--empty store fronts, parking lots, etc. Thankfully, the Knight Foundation funded a project to help overcome this key issue and city staff is working on implementing some of the proposals.

The first phase of the program will focus on delivering navigation totems throughout Downtown at key intersections. It will cover a ten-minute walking radius and the first totems will be placed along San Carlos between the convention center and SJSU. It will help visitors and students branch out into other parts of Downtown.

The totems for now will unfortunately be static, which is inconvenient as Downtown is changing very rapidly. I was hoping for interactive screens that would be better suited for the "Capital of Silicon Valley" and perhaps direct people to events happening that day or allow for integrating creative art or even location-based games. At least there will likely be a mobile way-finding element at some point.

For more info, check out the link below or check out the Knight Foundation report.

Source: SJ Economy Blog

Monday, October 22, 2018

Sobrato wows with proposal for "Bock 8" Downtown

The Sobrato Organization has been sitting on a prime 1.5 acre parking lot at the corner of Market and San Carlos for eight years. This was once earmarked for a three-tower condo project that failed to get off the ground. Sobrato's proposal is single 600,160 SQFT tower designed to look like four individual buildings.

The modern glass tower would be 17 stories high with most being dedicated to office space. Thankfully, there will be 19,600 SQFT of retail on the ground floor. Parking will be on floors two through six, which also adds more Downtown parking supply for evenings and weekends.

Floor plates will reach an impressive 50,000 SQFT, perfect for tech companies. Even more interesting are two rooftop gardens. One will be on the 14th floor and span 10,400 SQFT while the other will be on the 15th floor and clock in a 12,700 SQFT. Finally, San Jose is making better use of high-rise rooftops with proposals like this--two highrise hotels in the pipeline also feature penthouses with amenities like pools, restaurants, and green space.

Currently this will be a spec project without a specific tenant in mind. There is no specific timeline for construction--let's keep our fingers crossed that this will move forward soon.

Source: SVBJ

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Two new stores at MOMENT (San Pedro Square Garage)

Two new vendors are now operating in San Pedro Square. Earlier this year, 4 new retail spots were created on the first floor of the San Pedro Square Garage facing restaurant row. The spots are reserved for local entrepreneurs, preferably women-owned. The new stores are:

  • Hapertas and Company opened Aug. 16, offering “classic bespoke goods for the modern gentleman.”  Owner and designer Jill Evan’s inventory includes neckties, bow ties, pocket squares, cuff links, scarves and leather goods, all hand-crafted in California.  This is Habertas’ first brick-and-mortar location and the first products for men sold at MOMENT. Online sales are at
  • Empire in the Air, a community-based clothing brand, opened in early September.  The six-person creative collective will focus their shop on apparel, including shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, dresses and accessories. They will also bring in speakers and workshops.  Styles can be viewed at
Both stores will be open until at least January. Check them out next time you are in the area!

Source: SJ Economy Blog (also includes tidbits on a new Salon and Spread Deli coming Downtown)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture will become a boutique gym

A 61-year old furniture store at 82 E. Santa Clara was recently purchased by KSP Holdings with plans to transform it into a fitness club. Hank Coca's Downtown Furniture has been a Downtown staple for as long as I can remember. However, the writing has been on the wall that its days are numbered--literally, it has been having a "liquidation sale" for countless years.

KSP Holdings owns ClubSport fitness clubs, The Studio workout clubs, and Renaissance ClubSport hotels. It is not clear exactly which of those brands will hang on this 120 year old, 43,210 SQFT building. The only thing know for certain is that change is coming and this key Downtown corner is going to get a significant makeover.

Source: SVBJ

Friday, May 18, 2018

MOMENT at San Pedro Squared opens today!

One of the most exciting retail improvements to Downtown San Jose in years is launching today. San Pedro Squared is a Knight Foundation-funded project that adds four micro-retail spaces on the ground floor of the San Pedro Square garage. San Pedro is arguably the most lively street Downtown right now, but has always been held back by only having restaurants, bars, and the occasional shop on one side of the street due to the massive parking structure. 12 parking spaces have been converted into four 400 SQFT businesses for local entrepreneurs.

It gets better. The four businesses are all women-owned ventures with strong ties to San Jose offering unique and innovative products. You can see the descriptions of each below along with links to their websites.

San Pedro Squared is having their grand opening today at 11am. Please patronize our new local businesses--this is the type of grassroots project that adds character to Downtown!

Innovative retail destination reinvented in Market-San Pedro Garage, continuing people-first development efforts in downtown San Jose

SAN JOSE (April 30, 2018) – With the conversion of parking into micro-retail shops at the Market-San Pedro Garage completed, four locally owned retailers will be part of the new destination’s grand opening May 18.

The shops collectively will be known as MOMENT at San Pedro Squared.
MOMENT exercises a new approach to retail that allows temporary shops to coalesce with traditional brick-and-mortar experiences.

We want MOMENT to serve as a platform for small businesses to make the leap from part-time to full-time,” said Kevin Biggers, chief strategist for San Jose Made, which is curating the vendors and managing the spaces for San Jose Downtown Association.

The conversion of parking spaces into retail shops was called San Pedro Squared because it adds activation and street life to the garage side of San Pedro Street on one of downtown’s most popular blocks.

The SJDA proposal to turn 12 parking spots on the San Pedro Square side of the garage into four 400-square-foot business spaces was a winner of the 2015 Knight Cities Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation that seeks to make the cities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.

“The parking garage has been transformed into a vibrant venue that promises to bring new life to the community and serve as a destination for residents of all kinds to meet and connect,” said Danny Harris, Knight Foundation program director for San Jose. “The new MOMENT retail stores are a great example of people-first development, aiming to address resident needs and advance the economic vitality of the neighborhood.”

The Knight Foundation, along with the Downtown San Jose Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) and City of San Jose – owners of the garage – funded the project, including a new parklet that extends along the sidewalk into a seating and social area in front of the shops.  The parklet replaced five street parking spaces.

“With MOMENT, the entire block of San Pedro between St. John and Santa Clara streets becomes more active at the perfect time when new residential developments around the square near completion,” said Chuck Hammers, PBID president.

The initial roster of MOMENT tenants includes four women-owned businesses:
  • Bobo Design Studio:  Angie Chua has created a lifestyle wanderlust brand featuring brilliant designs crafted on everything from pins and patches to bags and graphic apparel, handcrafted and made in California.
  • Fractal Flora:  Through Fractal Flora, Yuri Lee and Sarah Lim have a mission to reconnect people to nature, be it through their wonderful curation and care for the plants and flowers they sell or their popular DIY terrarium workshops.
  • Blooms Privé:  Sarah Coronado and Marie Coronado of Blooms Privé have created the next evolution of women’s underwear (patent-approved), prioritizing an empowering and inventive design for women anywhere.
  • Sea Senorita Studios:  For Sea Senorita Studios, Sofia Arredondo uses her incredible artwork to power a diverse range of products, featuring everything from paper goods to T-shirts to accessories.
For small business owners like myself, MOMENT provides an opportunity for us to get back into our community, engage with our customers and build a presence that is increasingly more difficult to do online,” said Angie Chua of Bobo Design Studio, a San Jose native who quit her job in a tech-based startup to pursue her dreams as a creative business owner.

San Pedro Squared was designed by Gensler and Eaton Hall Architecture, and built by TICO Construction.  The project’s evolution has been documented

This project achieves a number of collective community objectives – incubating local talent, transforming the public realm and creating a cluster of destination retail in our city center,” said Blage Zelalich, downtown manager in the city’s Office of Economic Development.  “We’re confident that MOMENT is going to be great for San Pedro Square and downtown San Jose.”


About PBID
Established in August 2007 and managed by the San Jose Downtown Association, the Property-Based Improvement District (PBID) provides cleaning and tree-trimming services, beautification and street life projects, downtown ambassadors and secondary police enforcement units, and business development assistance.
MOMENT is a set of four dynamic micro-retail spaces designed and programmed to advance, grow and celebrate creative retail. Powered by San Jose Made, MOMENT embodies the urgency, immediacy and verve of today’s new retail and creative culture, featuring makers, creatives, artists and emerging brands for varying short-to-mid-length durations. The first four shopkeepers will occupy the spaces through August 2018.  Visit

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit

About the San José Department of Transportation
The San José Department of Transportation (DOT) plans, develops, operates, and maintains transportation facilities, services, and related systems that contribute to the livability and economic health of the city. Our goal is to provide a transportation system that is safe, efficient, and convenient for all modes of transportation, and which supports San José’s livability and economic vitality.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Swenson reveals spectacular proposal for the Guadalupe River Area

Swenson Builders just blew my mind with their proposal to turn the Downtown stretch of the Guadalupe River into a 6.81 million SQFT mixed-use development. Apparently, Swensen has been contemplating this for decades.

The 30-acre project would incorporate and expand existing parks on both sides of the Guadalupe River and even create a second river (!)... more on that in just a moment. Perhaps take a quick break to scroll down and look at the photos and then head back up here.

The square footage breakdown would be 3.8 million SQFT for office space, 2 million SQFT of residential space (~2,400 units), 420,000 SQFT of retail in a 5-story terraced shopping center, and 590,000 SQFT of hotel space (~1,100 rooms). Bridges would zig-zag over the river(s) to easily get from one side to the other. If there was ever a proposal to rival the San Jose Google HQ, this would be it.

One of the most interesting aspects of the proposal is to create a man-made river parallel to the original Guadalupe River. The purpose of this would be to allow for recreational water activities in Downtown San Jose such as kayaking, surfing, and stand-up boarding. Above the river would also be zip-lines, allowing for a fun adventure combining both a natural and urban backdrop.

Right now this is more vision than a formal proposal, but can you imagine is this is what the Downtown Guadalupe River area looked like 20 years from now? This would be a tremendous amenity and entertainment draw while highlighting one of Downtown's best kept secrets--the river.

Source: SVBJ (Subscription Required)

Monday, June 12, 2017

BREAKING - Update to Downtown Ross Site High-Rise Proposal

Downtown SJ sure is seeing a lot of action these days! A site development permit has been filed by Alterra Worldwide for the downtown Ross site at 27 S. 1st Street. The site development permit proposes a 22-story mixed-use residential building with 342 dwelling units and 17,628 square feet of retail on the 0.57-acre site. The development includes a clubhouse, two indoor fitness rooms, an outdoor fitness area, pool and outdoor terrace, and a 3,000 square-foot dog run. Units range in size from studios to two bedrooms, all including an outdoor balcony.

The submittal is an improvement from the preliminary application filed in 2016, although the architecture is very similar in style. The shape is still very boxy, and needs to better differentiate between the middle and top of the building. The top of the building could definitely use some work to contribute to a more distinctive and interesting skyline. Although, I do appreciate the tall ceilings on the first through third floors.

On June 27th, City Council will vote on an ordinance to allow balconies in the public easement, which means we may see less and less development proposals with box-like shapes as architects will be able to utilize the space above sidewalks for balconies. The current prohibition of balconies in the public easement means that developers and architects have limited space for private open space, leading to buildings like One South Market that are completely flat on all sides. Depending on the applicant’s timeline, they may wish to resubmit new drawings to utilize this new functionality.

For more information, go to and look up File No. H17-027. You may also contact the planner, Elia Sorice, at

**Also, sorry for the poor quality photos; they were directly scanned in from the plans.

-Kimberly Vacca

View looking towards N 1st Street from Fountain Alley

View from N 1st Street

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blue Bottle Coffee opening their first South Bay location in Downtown San Jose

Blue Bottle Coffee is a very popular "third-wave" coffee shop based out of Oakland. They are going to be the anchor retail tenant for 1 W. Santa Clara Street after the historic building's renovation is complete. This is a prime corner at the intersection of First Street and Santa Clara, which will only become more prominent a few years from now when the BART subway is built in Downtown San Jose.

Blue Bottle is also known for adding some extra vibrancy around their stores and have a reputation for seeking locations in up-and-coming areas. The 1,100 SQFT cafe will be the 12th Blue Bottle Coffee shop in California and the first in the area.

It will be interesting to see how 1 W. Santa Clara looks after the renovation is complete. Below is a before and after. It is difficult to make out many details from the picture-within-a-picture, but almost anything would be an improvement over the current aesthetics.

Source: SVBJ

Monday, February 13, 2017

San Pedro Squared

At long last it looks like the San Pedro Square parking structure is getting retail along San Pedro Street. New boutique shops will take a small number of parking spaces on the first floor while "curb cafes" will extend the experience along the street itself. This should help make the area even more lively and pedestrian friendly.

In 2015, the SJDA was awarded a Knight Cities Challenge grant towards making this project a reality. Construction is scheduled to begin this July and will hopefully be done by September. For more info, check out the Downtown San Jose Construction Brief.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Empty Downtown San Jose storefront will be activated for two months

Local Color is a two-month project to reactivate underutilized retail space in Downtown San Jose. It is being put together by Exhibition District, a collective of artists that have been doing a great job beautifying Downtown recently.

This project will take the former Ross space at 27 S. First Street and turn it into creative community workshops, shared studio space, and pop-up bazaars. Property-owner Mike Sarimsakci wants to eventually build a residential tower on the site, but until shovels break ground this is a great way to re utilize empty space. Local Color is sponsored by the Knight Foundation and brought to the community in partnership with the San Jose Downtown Association.

The art studios are towards the back of the building while the retail sections are up front. There is already a 111-foot mural along the north wall. Art classes are available Wednesday and Thursday, yoga on Friday, and performances (including dance parties) on Friday and Saturday. To see a full list of events, head over to the Local Color Facebook page.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Tramell Crow Diridon Project

A slick video has been released promoting the new Diridon mixed-use development in Downtown San Jose. As a reminder, the project includes 1 million SQFT of office space, 325 luxury apartments, 35,000 SQFT of retail space, and multiple public plazas.

The video cites various perks of the location including immediate access to the largest transit hub on the west coast, easy highway access, proximity to the airport, and of course being in the very center of the tech world. It is only 3 minutes long and is worth a watch. It's impressive to see the caliber of projects we are now getting.

Source: Hillrise from the San Jose Development Forum

Diridon from Diridon on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Downtown San Jose's One South tower finally gets a tenant

After a whole year, one of the most central and well-trafficked corners in Downtown San Jose has been leased. One South is a high-end apartment tower bound by Santa Clara Street, Market Street, and San Pedro Street. Sadly, its three retail units have sat empty despite residents fillings up the 312 units upstairs. Now, a gourmet coffee shot with some food options is going to nab that prime 1,730 SQFT corner space at the intersection of Santa Clara Street and Market Street.

The tenant is Proper Cup, and they'll fit right in with the other high-end, non-chain coffee shop proliferating Downtown. Their focus will be on artisanal coffees and teas with great customer service. Proper Cup will also be offering sandwiches and soups.

If you happen to be one of the lucky residents of One South, you're about to get one more reason to love where you live. Proper Cup is going to offer room service to residents so they can order coffee and have it delivered without having to go all the way down the elevator.

Construction of the coffee shop will begin at the end of September with a goal to be open in November. One down, two more to go. The remaining retail units are 3,201 SQFT (corner space) and 1,603 SQFT.

Source: SVBJ

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Downtown San Jose ground floor activation

Our good friend Mark from Think Bigger San Jose has a new blog post about how Downtown San Jose is changing at the street level. There are a lot of new towers that will be coming online over the next few years, forever changing the skyline. However, the changes that will have the most impact on the overall success of Downtown will be the amount of vibrancy that these new projects bring to our streets.

Head over here to read the post at Think Bigger San Jose and learn why the map below is important to Downtown.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

TechShop finds a new Downtown San Jose home

TechShop is a workshop for do-it-yourself types and craftspeople will all sorts of cool tools and resources (like a laser cutter). The current home of TechShop at the corner of 300 South 2nd Street is up for sale and will likely be torn down by the purchaser to build a multi-story housing or office project. Fortunately, TechShop already has found a new home a few blocks away at 38 S. Second Street. This is the former site of Zanotto's, which has sat vacant for years.

The new space clocks in at 20,000 SQFT, which is about 15% larger than the 17,000 SQFT they have today. That extra space will go towards a larger wood shop and more conference rooms and storage spaces.

Construction at the new location will take three months and the move is expected to take place in early fall. After they move, another key gap in Downtown San Jose's retail scene will be filled and highly active. I hope that they place some of the cooler workstations by the windows so people walking by can see what TechShop's craftsman (and craftswoman) are working on. It will definitely bring some much needed vibrancy to this street.

Source: SVBJ

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Small Business Saturday - Downtown San Jose

12 Downtown San Jose small businesses will be open today as part of a new event to encourage supporting Downtown retail. Parking validation is included for patrons of any of these businesses and this is a great event to combine with Christmas in the Park, Ice Skating, or visiting one of the 250 restaurants Downtown. Below is the list of shops open today and you can find out more information at the Small Business Saturday Facebook Page.

  • Seeing Things Gallery: 30 N. Third Street
  • Underground Boutique: 15 N 2nd Street
  • Cathedral Gift Shop: 80 S Market St
  • Circle A Skateboards: 108 Paseo De San Antonio Walk
  • Diaz Menswear: 70 E Santa Clara Street
  • Hammer and Lewis: 19 S First Street
  • Andy's Pet Shop:  51 Notre Dame Ave
  • Museum of Art Gift Shop: 110 S Market Street
  • Tech Museum Gift Shop: 201 S Market St
  • Children's Discovery Museum Gift Shop (CDM): 180 Woz Way
  • San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles: 520 S 1st Street
  • Mosher's LTD: 170 S Market Street